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Torch Socket

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Hi Guys,

 

I'm wanting to hard wire a dash cam into my LCI 530d, unfortunately the original buyer of the vehicle specced the car without the smokers pack so I have no 12v sockets in the front of my car. I'm not sure if I have a torch socket in my car, can someone tell me if the attached picture is the socket for the torch and if so do I just need to follow the instructions for adding a 12v socket to that?

 

Any help greatly appreciated if that isn't the torch supply can anyone help me hard wire a dash cam I've seen the rear view mirror idea but this scares me as I'm not technically minded.

post_2_1091722080_thumb.jpg

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I used the torch socket too.. the difference is that it stays powered until the car goes into sleep mode (around 40mins for me), which is not a bad thing as your camera will carry on recording if you go shopping etc. 

 

I might have more info in the link in my sig

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As they've said, that IS the torch socket. I spliced a spare 12v socket into the supply for that on mine, taped the socket to the cd changer bracket and just plugged in the camera plug.

Simple, Well under the fuse/cable ratings and I can change the camera/device at will.

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I bought an old Torch off Ebay for a few quid, stripped the guts out of it and did this.

The benefit is that the socket remains intact so I can refit the torch when I sell it.

On mine, the car takes 16 mins to go to sleep so that's how long it records for after locking.

 

Dashcam simply routes into the glovebox and connects to a standard ciggy lighter adaptor

 

IMAG0622_zpstspg1ts6.jpg

Edited by chr15gb

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Top edge was proper glued on so I simply melted it a bit along the top edge (which can be seen above the cable tie).

The rest just snipped out.

I drilled two small holes so I could get the cable tie through to secure the cable in case it got yanked.

 

I only had a small soldering iron. It was difficult to get enough heat into the pins to melt the solder but I got there in the end.

 

I then wrapped gaffer tape around it to keep the other side on.

Its been sitting happy in there for years now.

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Sounds like it's time for a little project to get myself powered USB ports in the glove compartment.

I've just ordered up what I need:

3 x original BMW torches (need a couple of spares in the event that things don't work out)

1 x 12v>5v buck converter to give me a clean 5v output. I've got a couple of different types, some with bare cable 5v outputs and others with USB ports already included.

 

Going to be very useful for dashcams and general charging as the 5v output is rated up to 3A. 

 

What I want to end up with is . . . 

Ideally: An OEM torch body which has 2 USB ports on the front rather than a lamp/bulb - might be a tight fit

Likely: An OEM torch body with short USB cables exiting from where the bulb would have been.

 

If this amounts to anything I'll share, so that others can do the same. 

 

I already have 2 USB ports in the glove compartment that connect to my in-car entertainment. Those provide a data connection too and could also potentially be used to power a dashcam, but I want to give the torch mod a go just just to see if I can make it work. I also like the idea that this stayed powered on for a few minutes after the car has been turned off. 

 

Lockdown and beyond has had be finding various things to do to keep me busy in my spare time . . . just one more to add to the list.

Edited by hitt
added some more content

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Did the same DIY in the torch on my E39 and had intended to just put it into my E61 to run my dash cam but weirdly I don’t seem to have a torch port in the glove box despite checking and double checking.

 

But the DIY on stripping the old torch is easy enough even with a super cheap soldering iron and has the advantage of being an instantly reversible modification. 

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On 26/09/2021 at 06:00, chicaneuk said:

Did the same DIY in the torch on my E39 and had intended to just put it into my E61 to run my dash cam but weirdly I don’t seem to have a torch port in the glove box despite checking and double checking.

 

But the DIY on stripping the old torch is easy enough even with a super cheap soldering iron and has the advantage of being an instantly reversible modification. 


Strange. I thought that the torch port was standard. I know that there is a USB/Aux port that fits in that same position too. Did you have that instead?

 

Also I managed to prototype the torch to USB mod this morning. I see a lot of talk about needing to cut the torch body open, or using a soldering iron etc. However, I bought 3 torches and all of them come apart relatively easily with minimal force as long as you work your way from one end to the other. A guitar pick might help too. 

Added a few pictures for anybody that is interested. This mod has USB connectors on fly leads, but I'm going to do another one with twin USB ports built into the torch body. Just ordered up a couple of other parts.

 

Very easy conversion:

1. Get a BMW torch - loads on of them eBAY

717330820_1.Torch.thumb.jpg.a90164467a9167081cbb894587d8587f.jpg

 

 

2. Pop open the torch - you don't need a soldering iron etc, just ease is apart from the back (connector end) and it opens up cleanly.

2083376855_2.TorchParts.thumb.jpg.be3802896491487acc56fd6f42f4f5c4.jpg
 

3. Remove everything from the inside (battery, bulb etc) and cut all components off the circuit board (this is the charging circuit and won't be required any more). You could leave the components on the board, but that leaves less space and risks there being components inside that have power going through them and may inadvertently result in a short if they come into contact with each other while you are fitting the buck convertor.

The two pins on the torch are not centred on the torch body (i.e. they are slight offset). The pin on the right (closest to the edge of the board) is the positive and the pin on the left (closest to the centre) is negative.

This is the view of the bottom of the board, with the pins pointing away from you.

Connectors.thumb.jpg.684ff06c5c486c2c532c9ce63a36e608.jpg

 

4. Grab yourself a Dremel or similar.

600075128_4.Dremel.thumb.jpg.9ae232d4d9de2425f5caf51bb1cc38ff.jpg

 

5. Sand it all down inside, with the exception of the supports for the connectors.

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6. Solder the 12v connectors of the buck convertor to the two pins of the torch. Red positive and Black negative. I cut the length of the cables down a bit as they were quite long and I only needed about 5cm on each.

  Polarity is important. So see my comment above (in step 3)

I also cut off the mounting tabs on the side of the buck convertor case to save a bit of space.

716873640_3.BuckConverter.thumb.jpg.9e5b52ea83ad9ccd29abc50012d16a5e.jpg

 

7.Snap it all back together and its done. I sanded down a little bit of the body to make a gap allowing the USB cables to come out of the side. This was easier based on the buck converter that I bought that had the USB cables coming out in that direction. I didn't want to bend them too much.  I also put the torch lens back on. It looks a lot nicer that way :) Holding it together in the picture as this was literally after I first put it together and hadn't tested it yet. :rolleyes:

1401366856_6.Complete.thumb.jpg.ba793e192e82440924e05a0e4e7a958b.jpg

 

 

Works perfectly. The fact that I have the USB cables on leads is useful for cases where I may be plugging and unplugging things.

However, I'm going to repeat the process above with a bare buck convertor board that takes up less space and build 2 USB ports into the torch body itself. That will be a lot neater for a more permanent connection for a dashcam.

 

Hope that this is helpful. 

Edited by hitt
Typos

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Quick follow up on my last post. I put together the final version of the torch USB this evening. Same process as above, except that this time the USB ports are contained within the body of the torch for a much cleaner look . . . not that anybody is going to be judging the aesthetics of my glove compartment :) 

 

Not my neatest soldering job. The pins within the torch are difficult to solder on to. They need a sand down to remove any oxidation and allow the solder to take.

1837770610_Take2-1.thumb.jpg.cf08af79e796b3038e15fa02a4034755.jpg

 

Finished product! Works perfectly and gives me 5V at 3A. More than enough to fast charge a mobile device or two, or power a dashcam.

400316368_Take2-2.thumb.jpg.08fa4dff0e7b31c18bd063384ff1d734.jpg

 

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